The King's Page
Walk-zone woesWednesday, June 10, 2009 By Lauren Gingold
MPS has placed a two-mile walk-zone around the two IB schools in Milwaukee, Ronald Reagan and Rufus King. What does this mean for students living in those areas? Students that live in the two-mile walk-zone around Rufus King will not receive any busing to Ronald Reagan and vice versa. The Rufus King community is predominantly black, and Ronald Reagan is mostly white. These walk-zones will cause schools to become more segregated. “Diversity is a value at King and is not as important to other schools; when you lose points of view in the classrooms, the discussion isn’t as rich,” principal Marie Newby-Randle said. English teacher Kelly O’Keefe-Boettcher agrees. “I am a continual witness to the power of integration primarily because Rufus King is one of the most authentically diverse schools in the state,” O’Keefe-Boettcher wrote in a letter published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It did not surprise me that as Obama took the oath, the students spontaneously joined hands.” Furthermore, she wrote, “Across racial, religious and socioeconomic lines, the students continually create [a diverse] community. This diversity and integration is unique in a city that for so long has been defined as one of the most racially segregated in the country.” If students can provide their own transportation, they choose the school they attend. If they take school or city buses, then they must go to the school in their neighborhood. MPS Board member, Jennifer Morales, said the main goal was to save money. Busing for MPS costs about $600 per student per year. The two-mile walk-zones will cause more students to walk to school, and the district could cut back on busing. Money saved by cutting back on busing will be distributed to MPS classrooms. Morales said that MPS is not trying to create segregated schools; it aims to save more money. The segregation of schools reflects where people live. If neighborhoods are integrated, then schools would be too. Once the walk-zone policy is enforced, incoming Ronald Reagan students in the walk-zone will have no school transportation to Rufus King. There was talk of segregation during a meeting to discuss the busing policy, according to School Board President Peter Blewett. “Integration is important to the future of Milwaukee and the future of our country,” he said. The two-mile walk-zone policy, though not finalized, will cause parents and students to rethink their high school selections in the future.